Today’s world is a very busy one; it’s a life of constant bombardment — always on, always active, always delivering, and always doing.
It’s an abomination if you’re unreachable even for just 30 minutes; and you dare not take a complete vacation where no one can contact you for 2 weeks.
Today, more than 70% of all workers suffer burnout (this refers to both corporate employees & self-employed solopreneurs).
By definition, burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.
There’s been a lot of study around burnout as it affects corporate employees; but not much has been said about people who work for themselves such as Life Coaches, Private Consultants, and Freelancers.
In my own experience, as well as by observing several other solopreneurs, I can boldly say that no one is immune to burnout. Whether you work in a large Silicon Valley company, or you work for yourself in pajamas, burnout is real.
I love what I do.
I enjoy helping people build heart-based businesses that make a positive impact in the world.
By providing technical support & digital marketing for business owners, my work allows them to focus on delivering their own core services of helping their clients live a better life.
However, over the past few months, I observed a gradual increase in the rate of constant tiredness I was starting to experience.
It happened so gently that it was impossible to point to any specific time when it started; or identify a particular thing as its cause.
But as soon as I noticed it, I decided to do something about it right away.
Before going into the changes I made, here are some of the causes I could identify in my own life.
Causes of burnout (personal experience, may not be same for everyone)
1). I was working too much, without enough time to relax or socialize.
2). I took on too many responsibilities, cos I found it hard to say No. (I didn’t want to hurt other people’s feelings by saying No to them).
3). I was not getting enough sleep.
4). I was spending too much time on tasks cos I’m still trying to overcome my perfectionistic tendencies.
5). I was no longer exercising on a consistent basis.
6). I always put everyone and everything else in front of my own self-care.
What I did (or am doing) to reduce burnout
You can simply take the above list & reverse the process in each of them — ‘cos that’s exactly what I’m striving for.
Say No: The first & most important change is that I’m learning how to say No — even to myself. By saying No to activities & tasks that sap my energy, I’m now starting to take better care of myself.
I admit that it’s hard for me to say No & I still find myself struggling with it; but that’s okay ‘cos it’s a process. I just have to stay true to the cause.
Take breaks: The world doesn’t come to an end when you switch off from it & take a much deserved break; so take a break.
I used to think that I always had to be accessible 24 hours a day; and so I constantly pushed myself to the limit. But not anymore.
I’m now taking breaks to refresh myself & come back with new energy.
Other changes: I’m now sleeping more, exercising often no matter how little, and gradually dropping my tendency for perfection.
Real-life example: This article doesn’t feel complete to me ‘cos I still have so much to say and I feel like I should explain things a lot more.
But it’s starting to take much longer than I planned & I realized it’s my perfectionism wanting to take over again.
So guess what I’m going to do?
I’m going to stop right here & decide that this is enough for today.
Got any questions you’d love for me to answer or write about in the next post? Email me: [email protected]